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  • Writer's pictureLaura Kae

Vulnerability: naked and unashamed

I don’t know what you think about shame, but I don’t think much of it. I don’t consider it my friend. It generally puts me in a place of trying to get away from it. I try to cover it up, and my fig leaves don’t always do that great of a job. Perhaps I need to find a tree with bigger leaves.

This past week I was doing some research for work, and I ran across a therapist who referred to shame as a “gift from God” on account of its ability to keep us from making ourselves gods or goddesses in our own minds. While the other information I have interacted with from her already indicated we don’t share a similar worldview, I was particularly glad my God gives me better gifts.

You see, in my worldview, shame is either of two things. It is either the direct natural result of sin or it is a result of the curse of God on this earth for Adam and Eve’s disobedience. Either way, not really a gift – unless my God gives me serpents when I ask for bread, which He doesn’t.

Shame was the result of one man’s sin, and in no way can it ever be compared to the gift of my God. The gift of my God is an abundant provision of righteousness. And there is no shame in being righteous just like my God. Whoa, but am I glad!

The gift of my God means I live a life with no condemnation in it. Goodbye, shame! Hello, grace and righteousness! The gift of my God is eternal life in Christ Jesus my Lord. Whoa, but am I glad!

I have been experiencing more of that gift lately. My, but it has been good. In the last couple months, I have considered that the way to recognize people who are followers of Jesus is if they seem like aliens because their character doesn’t resemble that of humans. Humans don’t love like that!

I have experienced that this wonderful gift of grace and righteousness makes us able to love people in their weakest moments without covering them in shame. I have experienced how wonderfully healing it is to be emotionally naked and feel no shame – not because my nakedness did not reveal my brokenness but because my brokenness was met with God’s love. And where there is an abundant provision of grace and righteousness there is no room for shame.

I have been doing a lot of studying and memorizing in Romans lately. Boy, does that cheer a person up! There has been so much hope in knowing my God is going to change me from the inside out. The Apostle Paul tells me to offer every part of myself to God as an instrument of righteousness. Can you imagine? If every part of me was an instrument of righteousness, I would never meet anyone’s brokenness with shame.

I don’t know about you, but there have been so many times I have tried to be vulnerable with the wrong people. I still do it sometimes. On Sunday, my pastor related that experience to casting my pearls before swine. Jesus says when I am vulnerable with people who don’t have good character, they will turn and tear me to pieces.

I have been torn to pieces a lot. I still get torn to pieces way too much. Sometimes even by “well-meaning” people. My brokenness, my offered intimacy, gets met with criticism, condemnation, slander, mockery, rejection and shame. Jesus says to not let people like that close. Wise Man, He is.

For so many years, I never dared to follow His wisdom. I was too busy making excuses for the people in my life who lacked character. My, but I was foolish.

Sometimes I still am. I walk away from a conversation wondering how I once again repeated a cycle of sharing life intimately with someone whom I knew in the end would tear me to shreds. Someone who had no interest in loving me; their only interest was in making themselves feel good with my company. To quote a line of someone else’s, “You don’t miss me. You miss using me. You don’t miss me. You miss the one I used to be.”

As I have begun to make wiser choices in my vulnerability, I have begun to experience something different; and it is life-transforming. To be met with God’s love when I display my greatest brokenness and my soul is completely vulnerable has radically changed my life.

And it really has. This week my psychologist and I laughed joyfully that God’s Word is true. Science only discovers about relationships what God said thousands of years ago. Apparently, on a scientific level, my brain has been working overtime to rewire what it knows about who is “safe” and who is not. But on an everyday, real level, my God’s truth stands secure. Nothing can separate me from His love; and when I walk in His love, I really do experience abundant life.

In what ways have you experienced God’s radical love in your brokenness? How can you set boundaries in your relationships to help you not cast your pearls before swine?

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